16 Dec 2018 06:32am IST
Jose Maria Miranda
Goa, with the beauty that Nature has endowed it with -its green hills, luscious fields, lovely rivers, broad beaches, and the character that God has gifted its people with – warmth, docility, hospitality and serenity - has made Goa an attractive tourist destination, an envy of many and a second home to those who find here the peace and tranquillity, which everyone needs, at some stage or the other of his life, and which only Goa can truly give, in such great measure.
Goa is today not the same Goa we saw, sixty or even forty years back. It has changed drastically, sadly, for the worse. Our rulers are imposing on us decisions which, sooner than later, will prove disastrous to us and the future generations. Unfortunately, we have been silent and helpless spectators to this impending tragedy. Murders, rapes, assaults, drugs, defections, corruption etc. which were not heard of decades back, have also become common and made Goa notorious .
Many a Goan, today, particularly our elected representative, has become the symbol of greed and selfishness, wilfully oblivious of the dangers looming large and the hazards to our own children and the future generations to whom we owe a responsibility to preserve and nurture this land. The Central leaders seem to be on a mission to destroy Goa, our environment, our livelihoods and eliminate Goanness, in the name of development and in this abominable endeavour, they have sadly found in our own Goan politicians willing and easy tools to manipulate and achieve their pernicious objectives.
Goans had aspired that in free Goa, migration would be a thing of the past. Far from it, it has been Goans out, non-Goans in. Most projects are money making rackets with no sincere attempts at creating jobs. This, added to the chaos and lack of governance prevailing in this State, has forced Goans, much against their will to migrate, in hordes in search of greener pastures, with no let up even after Brexit. Goans are depleting in Goa, much to the amusement of a few Goan leaders, who see in this a ray of hope for their nefarious agenda. This was evident when a prominent Goan politician, informed of the exodus, years ago, could not conceal his joy and had said with much glee “vochun di re tankam”.
Despite the love and devotion we have for Goa, we, Goans have regrettably not been able to unite to defend this beautiful land of ours. The bias and prejudices we hold, our casual approach to serious issues as also a highly dangerous and selfish attitude of indifference, which we commonly refer to as “mhaka kiteak poddlam” syndrome, have come in our way of together expressing our disgust at the happenings in Goa. We get easily frustrated, but taking a defeatist attitude and assuming that nothing will change, will not take us anywhere. It is imperative that we frustrate the politicians’ plans, moves and motives. Recently, in France, the Government was forced to reverse its decision of increasing taxes, succumbing to pressures from the people, who resorted to violence. We must avoid violence, though it is unfortunately the only language that the Governments understand in this land of the Mahatma. But we must be assertive and threats and blackmail should not deter us. The Government must understand that their aggressive postures can only be counter-productive. Our unity will be our strength and through it we will not allow the Government to have its way, if it is prejudicial to us. In the present setup, it is not the pen, but the unity of the people which is mightier than sword. It is the will and the might of the people which must prevail and they will, if we are united, for the Government well understands the language of numbers.
GOENCHO AVAAZ”, comprising a group of organizations determined to save and preserve Goa, or rather what is left of Goa has been in the forefront in mobilizing and uniting Goans for this worthy cause. Its meeting at Lohia Maidan in Margao, in April last, was a great success and brought thousands of Goans together to fight against the Regional Plan 2021. However, many more thousands, who surely share the same views and love Goa as much as the promoters do, could have made it, but did not, perhaps because they felt that since there are people fighting for them, they would in any case, reap the benefits. However, our unity is essential and it can only be reflected in the presence of people, in numbers. Only then will Governments sit up, think and often shiver. Goencho Awaaz volunteers have, in the last few months, been moving from village to village to bring awareness among the people about the ill-conceived designs of our rulers and the possible adverse effects, which could be irreversible and hazardous for us and particularly for generations to come. Storage and transportation of coal, nationalization and capital dredging of rivers, Regional Plan, arbitrary conversion of lands into settlement zones, unnecessary extremely wide roads taking away our precious and scarce land, tourism plans, with little benefits to locals and short-term benefits to some but destructive in many ways, pollution of waters, damage to the environment, adulteration of foods, etc, etc. are some of the issues which GA has been vocal about and have taken to the people, explaining their long term consequences. GA has embraced the elderly, the not so young and particularly the young. It is a youthful organization, having two excellent and promising leaders – Viriato Fernandes, an Engineer by profession and a retired Captain in the Indian Navy, who has recently declined an extremely lucrative offer in the Gulf, solely to continue his passion to fight for Goa and Swapnesh Shelekar, a qualified Engineer, equally passionate about the land of his birth where he puts his heart and soul. Goa seems lucky that, at last, it has found two highly energetic, talented and selfless leaders, who devote much of their time, energies and talents to carry to its logical end the fight for this beautiful land God has gifted us with. It is now holding a public meeting in Mapusa on 19th December at 3.30 p.m. with a very appropriate call for Goa’s 2nd Liberation, on the very day Goa’s first Liberation is supposed to have taken place. Goencho Avaaz crusaders have been spending much of their time, energies, talents and finances for Goa and for Goans. We cannot let them down for they are doing it for us all and selflessly. Let us all, therefore, join and do it for our land which was our cradle and will be our tomb. They are leading the fight for us and all they ask is our support, which is the least we can do with our presence. Our presence in Mapusa will be a hope for Goa. Let us, therefore, enthusiastically and gratefully acknowledge their sacrifices and respond to their call and attend this meeting in very large numbers and demonstrate in a big way our anger and disgust at the happenings in Goa. Let us make this a truly memorable and unprecedented event, thus giving the Government the jitters and putting it on notice that Goans will no longer be passive spectators and that the destruction of Goa will be allowed by them only over their dead bodies.